To continue the thought from yesterday; I had asked a friend of mine why the taking of class for so long, on and off for about 20 years. The response was "it is the only time I can find to paint." I was curious as to why it takes a commitment to a class to get ourselves painting, when if you are not in class, then you can be painting what inspires you rather than to paint as someone else is dictating.
Last week, I received in the mail, a book called Refractions. A friend had ordered it for me as a gift and it was a total surprise on my part. This book is written by Makoto Fujimura, an artist living in NYC and is a compilation of his essays. One of the first essays I read contained the following excerpt:
For years Dana Gioia served as a vice president of General Foods before leaving business to write full-time. He told me " I would come home too late and very tired, but each night I made myself sit down at my desk and simply copy the last paragraph of the essay I was working on or the last stanza of a poem. Usually, I got my 'second wind.'"
Reading this made me realize two things. One, that is what I am doing when I take an old painting and rework it. Doing so gets me painting if I am not inspired to paint, especially since I only have three days to paint; Second, that I can paint more if I do as Dana did, and just work more during the week after work. I took the time to go to class for 3.5 hours twice a week, so why can't I carve some time out, even though I am tired? I know what some people would say to me on this: "take time for yourself, slow down, etc etc." And sometimes one does need to recharge the batteries as evidenced by my recent overwhelming desire to not go to class of any kind and have no obligations after work except to come home, walk the dog and just be quiet and alone, which I have done over the past two weeks. Part of that is not wanting to be told what to paint and how to paint it. Not that that doesn't have merit, it is just not where I want to be. Reading Robert Henri's book is also showing me how to approach the model in ways I had not thought of before, but Mark wouldn't have gone for anyway, so I am not sure if I could have put the fresh perspective to work for me unless I were to go to the uninstructed model sessions the League provides. Mr Henri choose to paint portraits and figures instead of landscape although he laments the fact that there is only one of him and he had to choose between one or the other, but oh, how many landscapes he painted in his head as he walked.